The dreadful sound of machine guns pierced through the once calm night.
‘Insha Allah, he is my only son.’
She had never heard mama so frightened.
Was that Abdullahi, wailing profusely?
Hadiza woke up with a start.
She had not been dreaming.
Abdullahi terrified voice warning her in his last moments.
‘Please, kill me, but don’t kill him’ Mama pleaded.
Several gun shots.
‘My son, my son, Abdul!’
Mama’s wailing continued.
More gun shots.
Mama was silent.
When she had a fight with her brother just a few minutes ago, Hadiza cried.
Abu had eaten the remaining Tuwoshinkafa she had been saving since after breakfast.
‘Can’t you share your food with your brother?’ Mama had said.
Hadiza was hurt. Why was mama was always siding with Abdul?
She ran into the bush and hid in her special place. She wouldn’t come out until mama was sorry and came to find her.
She did not know that would be the last time she spoke to Mama and Abdul.
Right now, at eight years old and alone in the world, she could not cry.
‘Let us look for the Yarinya’ one of the men shouted.
Hadiza realized they were referring to her. She had heard of what men like these did to girls they captured.
She held her breath, praying, hoping…
Hadiza did not come out of hiding until morning came.
There were bodies everywhere.
Grandfather was in front of the house, his body barely recognizable from gun fire.
Uncle Ibrahim and Aunty Aisha were killed, so were their sons. Her other cousin, Minna, was nowhere to to be found. Someone said they kidnapped her.
The mosque was burnt down. So was every house in the village.
Pulka was a close knit town. Like many other towns in North Eastern Nigeria, it had had its share of financial hardships. Occassionally, some herdsmen would steal cattle or there would be no rain, hence a little harvest. But they always had each other.
The town had grown bigger in the past few months. Terrorists had ravaged the region, going town after town, regardless of religion, tribe or age. Relatives displaced from other towns had come to Pulka to find refuge. That refuge had become a sea of dead bodies.
Thanks for reading. Please let me know what you think in the comments section. Please watch out for part two. Read more short stories.